On the Travails of Parenting

Tomorrow, White Space turns three months old.

I remember the first day we opened: June 1. Abbey and I didn’t actually tell people we were opening on the 1st. We wanted, even if for just one day, some time to have our creation to ourselves. The blessing—done by a Jesuit brother who was a dear friend of mine—was a no-frills, three-person affair, conducted against the backdrop of last minute construction.

We wouldn’t have had it any other way.

That was just three months ago, but it feels like a lifetime. The funny thing about children—biological or otherwise—is how they expose how much we remain children ourselves. I’ve had to grow up, repeatedly and wearisomely, these last several weeks, spurred by a parent’s simple yet absolute imperative: ensure your child thrives.

I can’t say I did any of the growing up with grace. My characteristic response to duress is to get angry, and I was angry these last several weeks many, many times, the bearer of an inchoate rage that startled even me with its vehemence. If there was one thing that kept me sane, it was the fact that I anticipated (to a certain extent) that I would react in precisely this way.

(Honestly, the universe couldn’t have engineered a better scenario with which to push all my buttons. How do you make a control-freak grow up? Throw her headfirst into a situation with initially unknown and subsequently ever-changing variables. Add long hours and frequent interruptions and subtract familiar environs and life-long routines.)

Somehow, in spite of everything, in spite of myself particularly, the studio has thrived. It’s been growing quietly and serenely, much like the plants that line its perimeters, a testament to the truth that infants are designed to survive first-time parents.

Here’s hoping for an unprecedentedly delightful next three months for child and parents alike.


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